Working out in the winter is hard. It’s dark and it’s cold out, and not to mention the fact that all the extra food you consumed over the holidays makes you feel lethargic. It would be much easier to stay wrapped up in a blanket on the couch with a large cup of cocoa. Get your exercise schedule back on track with some winter workout motivation tips.
Get a Partner
The “friends make tasks more fun” rule isn’t limited to studying and work. It also applies to your exercise routine. Employing a workout buddy means someone is waiting for you to show up. You can’t bail every day when your friend is waiting. Working out with friends also gives you social time to look forward to, you might actually find yourself wanting to add extra time to those daily exercise routines.
Whether you work out to improve your health, lose weight or gain strength, set a goal to reach by spring. Maybe you hope to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, fit into your skinny jeans or train for a marathon. Set some numbers you hope to reach by spring. Write down your goal as a reminder, then share it with others to keep yourself accountable. A clear goal with a deadline can be a powerful motivator.
Get the Right Gear
We all know how important it is to stay cool when working out in the summer. Why should paying attention to winter temperatures be any different? When exercising outside, layers are optimal for changing temperatures and avoiding too much sweat as your body naturally warms up. Don’t forget winter gear for those frozen extremities either. Warm socks, gloves and earmuffs can be the difference between a comfortable workout and a miserable one.
Warm up Inside
Your workout may take place outside, but you should still stretch indoors. When you step out into the cold, your body naturally wants to fold up to keep warm. The huddle up reaction might inspire to limit your warm-up or skip it completely. Resulting stiff muscles or injuries could set you up for a vicious cycle with more time back on the couch. A bonus to stretching indoors: You’ll be ready to get outside and cool off.
Change Things Up
Maybe you can’t stand the cold. Maybe you’re in a workout rut. Changing your exercise routine in the winter can make workouts fun again. Try a video, a new piece of equipment, or anything that’s a little bit outside of your comfort zone. A new routine can give you that necessary motivation to get up on dark mornings. A different workout can also help you build new muscles or jumpstart your weight-loss goals.
Join a Class
Have you always wanted to try yoga or Zumba? Get over your fears and sign up for a class. If you are paying for your workout, you’ll be less likely to skip. Knowing that other people expect you to show up can be all of the motivation you need. Besides, if you skip a class, you risk getting behind and no one wants to be playing catch up in a fast-paced workout class.
Lower Your Expectations
Promise yourself you can quit after five minutes. It probably seems like a sure way to fail but getting past the procrastination factor is half the battle. The first five minutes of your routine is usually how long it takes to get your blood pumping. It’s the point where you start to feel better and get into the workout. Forcing yourself through those first minutes usually means you will finish the workout. After you get started, what do you have to lose?
Start Shopping for Spring
Winter layers look great. Colors are often dark, shapes are loose and flowy, and those leggings or skinny jeans add the perfect streamlining touch. Clothing layers also have a fantastic ability to cover the additional layers of bulge we pick up over the winter holidays. Shopping for spring clothing, or even pulling out some of your favorite summer outfits can be a much-needed wake-up call. Working toward that spring figure becomes a reality when you can actually see the results in the mirror.
Think About Your Health
Exercise does a lot more for your health than help you lose weight, the health benefits are multifaceted and compounding. Exercise has been shown to alleviate depression, improve bone density, boost fertility and reduce your risk of chronic disease.
On the days when you don’t want to get out of bed, reminding yourself that this might be the thing that prevents you from having a serious health issue in the future, might be just the motivation trick you need.
Track Your Progress
Exercise changes your body a tiny bit every day. Like when your kids are growing, it’s hard to see the daily changes when you are always there. When you set your winter goal, take some selfies. This will be your before picture. Take some measurements too. Every few weeks, set up a re-check to see how far you’ve come. Success breeds more success. The proof that you are actually accomplishing something will inspire you to exercise more.
Summer heat is a natural reminder to drink plenty of water. In the winter, hot drinks loaded with sugar or caffeine are more of a comfort. Even mild dehydration can cause headaches, lethargy and muscle cramps which can make you feel like skipping your workout. Set a reminder on your phone to drink water early and often. As your body gets used to the increase, you will begin to crave more water without the temperature to motivate you.
Winter workouts don’t have to be difficult. You just need a little motivation. Mental preparation is half of the battle. Accept the cold and use winter workouts to accomplish something new. Your body will thank you and when spring comes, you’ll be glad you put in the extra effort.